Hodgson urges England youngsters to avoid criticism


England manager Roy Hodgson has urged his team to maintain their belief after falling to their first defeat in 17 months.

England were defeated 2-0 by Spain in Alicante on Saturday after late strikes from Mario Gaspar and Santi Cazorla.

Following an undefeated Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, Hodgson hopes his younger players will not be affected by the setback.

"The most important thing to do now, when you haven't lost for a long time and you get a defeat, if you're not careful it can really dent your confidence," he said.

"My coaching staff and I will work very hard to make certain that we have a realistic appraisal of the game and don't allow the good things that these boys have been doing for a long period of time to suddenly go.

"Criticism comes from all corners, people listen and they might start doubting themselves.

"So my big thing will be with Ross Barkley, Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling and these types of players will be to say, 'Don't doubt yourself, keep believing and keep doing it'."

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy is likely to miss France's visit to Wembley Stadium on Tuesday after a hip and knee problem kept him out of the Spain clash.

Premier League top scorer Vardy injured himself in Leicester's draw with Watford and Hodgson was pessimistic about the striker's chances of featuring.

"It will be touch and go because he came with the injury and we were hoping with the days and the treatment and rest that he would be a lot better," he said.

"I don't think it is, so unless there is some real change in that respect then we wouldn't take a risk with him. That would be unfair on Leicester.

"He would have to recover and be fit for us to play him and the chances aren't more than 50-50."